All 65-year-old men in the Hertfordshire area will now benefit from screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (also known as AAA) as part of a national screening programme.

AAA is caused when the main blood vessel in the abdomen, called the aorta, weakens and starts to expand. If this goes undetected, the condition can be fatal and around 6,000 people die every year from a burst AAA.

The Hertfordshire Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme aims to reduce deaths among men aged 65 and over by up to 50 per cent by detecting problems early and offering appropriate monitoring or treatment.

The screening test is a simple ultrasound scan of the abdomen, similar to that offered to women during pregnancy.

Men are invited for screening during the year they turn 65 and all men who turned 65 after April 1 last year will automatically be invited. Men over 65 who have not previously been screened can ask to be tested by contacting the programme directly.

Consultant Vascular Surgeon at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Mr Reda Awad, said: "I am delighted that men aged 65 and over in the Hertfordshire area now have the opportunity to take part in this screening programme.

"Men who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm will not generally notice any symptoms, which is why screening is so important. The test is simple, non-invasive (it doesn’t require a cut to the skin) and usually takes less than ten minutes. The screening is highly effective and men will receive their results immediately."

For more information on the NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme, visit the national programme website at

Men over 65 who have not previously been screened can request a scan by contacting the Hertfordshire AAA Screening Programme, or 01727 897 719 or 01923 217 876.